Do you wake up in the morning excited to go to work? Sadly, statistics tell us that the number of people who are truly fulfilled in their careers are about the same as those who win the lottery. But that should not and does not have to be the case. With such a large part of your day and life devoted to your career, you deserve to find and enjoy fulfillment at work. Indeed the great Ralph Waldo Emerson highlights the tantamount importance of fulfilled work:
“The crowning fortune of a man or woman is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.”
So regardless of what kind of a job or career you find yourself in, here are 7 ways to find true fulfillment at work:
1. Show me the money?
No! Your work must go far beyond a means for money. Yes, we all need money to live, but in order to be truly fulfilled, your work must have meaning beyond filling that bank account. Money as both a means and end is a narrow path toward a shallow career experience.
2. Know your destination.
Have a clear vision of where you are wanting to head toward in terms of your passion and goals. Write them down and create a schedule to stick to. Challenge yourself daily to keep chipping away toward that goal. Fulfillment comes in the progression toward an exciting goal.
3. Have an out-of-body experience.
Does someone else benefit from the work you do? Just about anyone who has had children will attest to this life-changing experience. It turns a literal “Sloppy-Joe” into a Tony Robbins. When you have someone outside of yourself that your work directly supports, this injects purpose and fulfillment into your work. But you do not have to have children to experience this fulfillment; consider sponsoring a child.
4. A clown, a teacher, and a student walk into a bar….
Engage with your co-workers. Put on the hat of the office clown or become Dr. Phil to your fellow employees. Fulfillment will come from building relationships with those around you. If you learn a better way to do something, then share it. If you discover there is someone you would like to emulate, connect and learn from them.
5. Take the mask off.
There is so much pressure to conform in the workplace, to take on a persona that is completely contrary to who you are. While it is important to continually stretch yourself and step outside of your comfort zone, do not let your true self be choked out. Learn from people you look up to, but do not try and become a carbon copy of them.
6. Do more than necessary.
To be extraordinary, you need to do what is extra to the ordinary. Fulfillment comes not in scraping across the finish line but blasting through. Pursue excellence. Your employer may have a standard that they expect from you, but you will not be fulfilled by someone else’s expectations. Keep setting the bar higher and higher. Compete with yourself.
7. Know your worth.
Nothing creates more frustration than being underpaid or under-appreciated. It could be that your boss or manager has far too much on their plate to notice or address the issue. Do not be passive or overly meek about your own value and worth. If you are an incredibly hard worker beyond your position and what you are being paid, be intentional and make an appointment to sit down with your boss. Keep a personal log on the specific instances in which you continue to excel. Fulfillment becomes stagnant if your career also stands still.
Humans are creatures of habit. Even when a situation is not the best for us, we remain in them. You have heard it said that if you put a frog in water and slowly increase the temperature that it will not even realize it has died. Do not let this happen to you! Accept that you deserve to be fulfilled and put these practices into play today.
Featured photo credit: waitress working in restaurant by diego_cervo via stockfresh.com
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